Health and safety breach leaves church worker paralysed

South Kensington’s St Paul Church located in Onslow Square has seen a fine for failing to provide a safe environment.  A self-employed worker fell and is now paralysed as a result. He fell from the balcony of the church.  The individual fell three metres due to a poorly guarded balcony that was under refurbishment.  The HSE was brought in to conduct health and safety audits regarding the 2010 incident.

The work on the site began in 2009 where an adjustable floor and handrail were installed.  The high barrier on the balcony was also installed, but later taken down because of moving issues.  It was difficult to move the supplies due to the barrier according to the claims made.  A lower rail about a metre in height was put in the position instead, making it possible for workers to fall as they were trying to manoeuvre in the small space.  The barrier was unable to take the worker’s support when he went to the edge to work and he fell, confirming the health and safety breaches.

The worker suffered three broken ribs in addition to a broken shoulder.  He also fell in such a way that he is paralysed from the waist down now.  The incident is a life changing one that could have been avoided.  The incident shows the importance of proper barriers and safety measures at height.  The church has been fined £5,000 and must pay the full court costs of £4,400.